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  1. #1
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    Every so often Bob the Navigator sends us some budget numbers for a trip to Italy based upon his experiences. Here are his 2013 numbers,

    Italy Travel Budget 2013

    Note, these numbers don't assume Slow Travel. I've asked Bob for some insights into savings that he utilizes when he rents a vacation property rather than staying in hotels but perhaps others can share their thoughts here too?

    Thanks Bob.

  2. #2
    This is a pretty nice tool, though less than $100 per day for food seems low to me. That could easily be spent on dinner alone if you're not making dinner at home.

    For me, part of the fun of staying in rural Tuscany is finding something to eat fresh at a market that day, making it at the villa and sitting by the fire/pool. So maybe it's doable, but it still sounds low. Especially if nice wine is in the equation.

    Kudos to Bob for putting this together.
    J

  3. #3


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    Hotel breakfast included in room 0

    Lunch pizza or pannini. Less then 5

    Pizza for dinner can be about 5

    Now it sure wouldn't be a five start day but staying under 100 isn't that hard.

  4. #4
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    I think it depends upon where you dine and how much (or what type) of wine you consume .

    It's interesting to hear everyone's perspectives though. When we first traveled we used to do two big meals (lunch and dinner). Then it was dinner. Now I enjoy doing a leisurely lunch and a light dinner, which I also finds saves on the dollars.

  5. #5
    Originally posted by Kim:
    I think it depends upon where you dine and how much (or what type) of wine you consume .

    It's interesting to hear everyone's perspectives though. When we first traveled we used to do two big meals (lunch and dinner). Then it was dinner. Now I enjoy doing a leisurely lunch and a light dinner, which I also finds saves on the dollars.
    The last time I was in Italy, we ate 4 meals a day

    Breakfast
    Lunch
    4PM "dinner"
    8PM dinner

    This was because many of the restaurants don't open until later. We had kids with us though, that often couldn't wait that late to eat.

    Somehow I still lost weight with all the walking we did.

  6. #6


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    Originally posted by Kim:
    ... but perhaps others can share their thoughts here too?
    Bob's estimates look completely reasonable to me.
    I'd just add, that from our experience as 2-star travelers, it's not that hard to shave a few hundred dollars off Bob's price estimate for accommodations for thirteen nights. For an average of 80 Euros for two persons per night, you can get fine accommodations in hotels, agriturismos and B&B's - pushing down Bob's figure of $1700 to $1400. At least that was our experience in Piemonte and Liguria. Perhaps the destinations he based his figures on are more expensive.

  7. #7
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    John, you sound like a hobbit .

    Joe, Bob's estimates assume the big 3 (Rome, Florence & Venice) plus some time in Tuscany, so I agree with you when you say he based his figures on destinations that are more expensive.

  8. #8
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    Picking up items at the store for lunch has always been fun (and cheap). A Swiss army knife, a tube of mustard, and anything you are halfway to a great picnic no matter where you are. There's always a bench, a step, or a fountain and some shade that can be your little corner of the world for lunch and a chance to watch the world go by.

  9. #9
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    Bob's List was a very handy tool when I planned our first trip to Italy back in 2007. Thank you for updating it.

    We almost always rent apartments/villas/condos wherever we go. For an upcoming first trip to Venice I was vacillating over whether to stay in a hotel or an apartment. With being there five nights, I thought that a hotel with some services might be a good idea. The canal view room in the hotel that appealed to me (Palazzo Stern) would have been over 500 euro a night. The apartment I had settled on with an altana with lovely view is around 200 euro a night. In the end, saving at least 1500 euro over the 5 nights by renting the apartment was a no-brainer and I decided on an apartment.
    Bill
    There are people who have money and people who are rich. - Coco Chanel


  10. #10
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    I thought that a hotel with some services might be a good idea.
    At least I'll be nearby for free advice.


    As regards Bob's budget--I think it's very helpful, especially for first timers. (Thanks for doing it, Bob and for sharing it here on ST)
    I always make a very rough budget for our trips and come surprisingly close.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by jgk

    At least I'll be nearby for free advice.
    Yay!
    Bill
    There are people who have money and people who are rich. - Coco Chanel


  12. #12
    It is good to have these sample budgets as conversation starters, but I am not sure many of the estimates for food and lodgings end up being realistic for a lot of travelers (and of course some people are flying for free these days!)

    I honestly don't think it is doable for most adults traveling in Italy for 13 days to eat for $50 per person per day, especially if they are including Venice and the major sights of Tuscany. Even assuming breakfast is free, that no wine is consumed with meals, and that snacks and coffee are a separate budget, at today's exchange rate, $50 is less than 19e per meal.

    Most anytime an adult sits down to eat a meal in Italy, the cost is going to go above 20e. Anywhere but Rome there will typically be a cover/service charge, tax, a bottle of water to be ordered and at least 2 courses. Most adults will want a wine or beer with their meals.

    Of course one can pick up a sandwich for less than 10e and fill up one's water bottle at a public fountain, or split a pizza or get food from the market and picnic. It is often tasty dining! But 13 days of that is usually not enough food for adults.

    I have also found in renting apartments that landlords are not necessarily generous with providing "staples", even in upscale apartments. My initial trip to the supermarket almost invariably includes buying basics that I may not completely use up during my stay. And I recall once renting an apartment in Bologna and discovering that daily market shopping for fresh pasta, fruit/veg, cheese, eggs or sliced meats and wine for a light dinner actually wasn't all that much cheaper per meal than the simplest local trattoria.

    Actually, the one budget line where I would have change to spare is the gelato and cappucino budget! I generally spend less than a euro on espresso at a bar, and can do a whole trip to Italy without ever having any gelato outside of summer.

    But I still think people planning to eat in restaurants during a trip to Italy should be prepared to spend more on food than the sample budgets, including the 4 star sample budget (even if you are not planning on any michelin-starred meals). Typical meal costs for good food and wine in restaurants in Italy begin more in the neighborhood of 30e or $40 per person per meal (factoring tax, water, wine, service), and go upward from there, especially for the most popular tourist destinations.

  13. #13


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    I agree with Swithers--especially about shopping for all the "staples" not making it worth while to cook.
    We have had friends discuss this for traveling to St Martin and it never seemed worth it even though we have a kitchen where we stay. Bread, milk, etc. yes, but all the ingredients to cook a nice meal seem a bit much. Many bring a lot of stuff from home. Our way of saving is not having expensive meals all the time, but a dish of pasta and salad with house wine is our favorite anyway.
    Looking at all the produce at the markets does tempt us.

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